The Cultural Revolution: A People’s History, 1962–1976
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After the economic disaster of the Great Leap Forward that claimed tens of millions of lives from 1958–1962, Mao Zedong launched an ambitious scheme to shore up his reputation and eliminate those he viewed as a threat to his legacy. The stated goal of the Cultural Revolution was to purge China of its bourgeoisie and remaining capitalists. The Cultural Revolution soon resulted in street fighting between rival factions. As China descended into chaos, the military intervened, turning the country into a garrison state marked by bloody purges that killed as many as one in 50 people. After the army itself fell victim to the Cultural Revolution, ordinary people used the political chaos to resurrect the market and hollow out the party’s ideology. In short, they buried Maoism. Please join us for a discussion of the horrors of the Cultural Revolution and its unintended consequences.